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New Mountain business is a stitch sublime posted on 06/01/2019

Welches seamstress Anne Balmer’s light-filled home studio is full of items that stir the imagination. Photos of painstakingly restored Persian rugs and pre-Columbian textiles, colorfully sewn children’s dress-up costumes and intricately stitched Victorian-era reproductions bare proof of her long career in textile design, theatrical costuming and textile conservation.

Anne’s Sewing Service is Balmer’s latest undertaking, utilizing her thirty-plus years of professional experience to provide custom alterations, made-to-order home décor, children’s wear and gifts for members of the Mount Hood communities.

Balmer was born in England and taught to sew by her mother, a custom dressmaker. She went on to study textile design and honed her sewing chops working in the costume shop at San Jose Repertory Theatre in California.

“When you work in a costume shop you’ve got to toe the line. The show must go on,” Balmer said about the skills she learned working for the theater.

Annual visits to England led her to study Victorian-era historical garments and eventually create the White Swan collection, a mail-order company featuring Victorian nightgowns and lingerie.

Balmer went on to work in textile restoration for over a decade in California, restoring and mounting archeological textiles from around the world, including Pre-Columbian funereal textiles from Peru and Chile, Flemish tapestries and Persian rugs. 

After her career in restoration, Balmer started her own custom sewing business, which she hopes to continue on the mountain following her move to the Welches community 18 months ago.

Her sewing service specializes in home décor, including custom curtains and window treatments, slipcovers, pillows and cushion covers, bedding and canopies. She also provides alterations, hemming, tailoring and made-to-order garments.

Balmer recently utilized her experience with textile conservation restoring a quilt for a customer in Oregon. Her sewing service also currently offers technical support and expertise hanging textiles and tapestries for home display.

The focal point of Balmer’s current studio are two elaborately beaded, princess dress-up gowns intended for her neighbors’ young daughters. Balmer explained that sewing princess and fairy dress-up costumes are one of her favorite activities and she delights in creating clothes for children to wear with imagination.

Her sewing service offers consultation appointments and gives estimates for all services. Balmer emphasized her desire to work with her customers and her understanding that “nobody likes surprises” for unexpected expenses.

Anne Balmer, and Anne’s Sewing Service, can be reached to arrange an estimate or discuss a project by email at annekbal@gmail.com or by telephone at 831-234-5740.

By Benjamin Simpson/MT




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